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Home schooling

Danielle Castonzo | Jan 16, 2018

Mississippi Kiwanians help young students 9,000 miles away.

When Raja Reddy attended Mandal Parishad Primary School in the 1960s, there was no dedicated building for lessons.

“We had our classes mostly underneath some trees, occasionally in a building generously given for free,” Reddy says of his school days in Andhra Pradesh, India.
Today, he’s a research professor at the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at Mississippi State University and a member of the Starkville, Mississippi, Kiwanis Club, nearly 9,000 miles away from his homeland. He led the club’s recent fundraising efforts to provide resources for three schools in the Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh, including his former primary school.

The club partnered with the Mississippi State University Indian Students Association and Indian families living in Starkville.

Because these schools still lack basic facilities, the Starkville Kiwanis Club’s provided printers, backpacks, notebooks, a water tank for lavatories and drinking water and plates for lunches at Reddy’s former primary school. The funds also went toward desks for two high schools, one of which his wife, Anu, attended.

When Reddy and his wife return to India to see their families, they visited the schools to share the experience of achieving their academic and career goals abroad.

“I’ve been visiting these schools and colleges and telling them I was like one of them,” Reddy says. “If I could go and be successful, they could do it too. I ask them to dream big and work hard to achieve those big dreams.”

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